Gareth Bale continues to look unstoppable, while Michu revives his Fantasy fortunes to repay his faithful owners as QPR are put to the sword. With the Chelsea engine room purring, even without Mata, there were only three strikers on the mark from the 17 goals scored. Food for thought. Here’s the Stock Check on Saturday’s action so far.
On the Up
The Welshman looks simply unplayable right now. A devastating brace won the game for Spurs and, in truth, Bale could have helped himself to further returns. He started the game wide left but was shifted to a central area late on and went on to clinch the winner. A huge number of acquisitions look likely and, with two weeks until the next deadline, a significant price rise looks inevitable.
Having failed to score in his last six outings, Michu, like Marouane Fellaini last weekend, hammered home a telling brace to reward the patience of his Fantasy owners. With an assist in the mix, the Spaniard is on course for his biggest points haul of the season, beautifully timed for those who ignored Liverpool’s double Gameweek assets and handed him the armband.
A second goal of the season helped the Spaniard overshadow Ben Davies on the opposite flank and perhaps underline his superior attacking potential. Given that they are now identical in terms of FPL price, arguably, Rangel is the better option for those looking to invest in the Swans’ backline.
Sissoko may have been overshadowed by the performance of Bale but the Frenchman maintained his record of returning in every appearance thus far with the assist for Yoan Gouffran’s goal.
At last, Huth delivered a first goal of the season, with Fantasy Premier League (FPL) bonus perhaps on the cards, the gap between Huth and his skipper Ryan Shawcross, narrows. Marc Wilson, absent today but close to a return, will surely be the key acquisition in the Stoke defence very soon, however. Particularly with no clean sheet in the last eight for Tony Pulis’ rearguard.
The Spaniard fired only his second league goal in his last nine starts to keep his points tally bubbling but, with Theo Walcott providing the assist, it remains difficult for Cazorla to overshadow his consistent team-mate. Walcott has now returned a goal or assist in nine of his last ten league starts.
Another player who has lived in the shadow of team-mates, Hazard took his opportunity to shine with Juan Mata on the bench by returning goal and assist returns in Chelsea’s 3-1 win. Hazard has now score in three of his last four league starts to indicate that he may yet be able to compete with the consistency of Mata and Frank Lampard in the Chelsea midfield.
An extraordinary run of form continued. Lampard’s strike against Wigan was his fourth goal in his last four league starts, his eighth in his last ten league appearances. Having started the last eight, Lampard, at 8.5, is clearly worthy of consideration for those without Mata in their squads.
A lack of clean sheets hasn’t’ stopped Cesar Azpilicueta impressing: he returned to the lineup today to fetch two more assists to take him to six for the season. You have to wonder how close he is to making the role his own, with Branislav Ivanovic reduced to rotation for the centre-back roles.
It’s back-to-back goals for the little Scott, with returns in four of his last five league starts. At just 4.8 in the FPL, Maloney goes on making a strong case for selection as a budget fifth midfielder.
The Norwich Defence
A second consecutive 0-0 stalemate underlined the shortage of firepower but the clean sheet was their third in five games with the likes of Mark Bunn, Russell Martin and Seb Bassong continuing to offer value within Chris Hughton’s rearguard.
The Arsenal Defence
Back-to-back clean sheets have suddenly restored the Gunners back four in our Fantasy thinking. With Villa at home next, Arsene Wenger’s side could be set to fetch three consecutive clean sheets for the first time since the opening three matches of the season. Wojciech Szczesny, outstanding today, remains a strong option between the sticks, while Bacary Sagna was deployed in central defence today with both Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny out injured.
The instant reaction to the Chelsea team-sheet was that Mata had been a victim of Rafa Benitez’s rotation, although the club later tweeted that the Spaniard had been struck down with a virus. He was still well enough to come on in the second-half, however, frustrating his owners who saw their man fail to return for just the third time in the last twelve league matches. At least Mata has now had his rest and, presumably, we can now look forward to another extended and uninterrupted run of league outings.
The Chelsea Defence
Maloney’s goal ruined another clean sheet for Rafa Benitez’s side who have now conceded nine goals in their last five league matches, with no clean sheet in that run. Indeed, it’s just one shut-out in the last eight for Rafa’s back four.
The Tottenham Defence
Once again, Andre Villas-Boas shuffled his resources at the back with both Jan Vertonghen and Benoit Assou-Ekotto relegated to the bench. With the experience of William Gallas and the returning Younes Kaboul to call upon, it seems that only Kyle Walker looks safe from rotation. Michael Dawson has now started the last seven league matches, however.
Deployed in midfield, up behind Peter Crouch at Arsenal, the US international was dropped to the bench for the visit of Reading having travelled to Honduras in the week. With Marc Wilson returning to contention at left-back soon, it remains to be seen if Cameron remains an automatic choice for the right-back role from this point on.
The darling of double Gameweek 23, Podolski found himself relegated to the bench once again having been forced to emerge as a substitute to win the game in Gameweek 25. With Champions League fixtures looming, Podolski looks set to remain prone to rotation.
A leg injury ended the England starlet’s afternoon at the Stadium of Light as he limped off on 50 minutes. Arsene Wenger has spoken briefly after the match to reassure us that the prognosis will be days rather than weeks. We’ve heard such optimism before, however.
The Swede has suffered an ineffective season for the Black Cats, returning just a single goal and three assists to this point. Today, with Lee Cattermole fit to return to the midfield, Larsson was relegated to the bench, only to be introduced at half-time.
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For Gameweek 38
- van Persie
Next Six Ticker
|No Change||Hart||MCI||B, Vs|
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|No Change||Mata||CHE||C, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Hazard||CHE||B, Vs, Rest, Inj|
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|Down||Aguero||MCI||B, Vs, Inj|
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|Up||Defoe||TOT||B, Vs, Rest|
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|A, B, C||Current Form|
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“We have dynamic players with good movement, so if he can link with them fine. He can play a bit higher because his timing getting into the box is very good.”Rafa Benitez talks up the role that Frank Lampard can play in his Chelsea revolution